Call for expressions of interest: LLAS in The National Student Survey

News summary

LLAS is offering ten departments/subject units £1,000 in return for contributing to our work on the National Student Survey. The funding can be used for staff time buyout and expenses connected to running interviews/focus groups.

Departments/institutions will benefit from having a better understanding of the National Student Survey, how students respond to it, and how they can use it to enhance the quality of their own provision. LLAS will provide a template document to those departments chosen with further details about conducting the work.

Deadline 17th December 2010

About the National Student Survey

The National Student Survey (NSS) has been in use since 2005. It consists of 22 questions which ask final year students about their university learning experience.

The NSS consists of 21 questions in six categories:

  • The teaching on my course
  • Assessment and feedback
  • Academic support
  • Organisation and management
  • Learning resources
  • Personal development

There is a 22nd question "Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of the course”. This is the question which is most frequently used in the league tables compiled by national newspapers.


The projects will focus on the following eight questions

2. Staff have made the subject interesting
6. Assessment arrangements and marking have been fair.
9. Feedback on my work has helped me clarify things I did not understand.
10. I have received sufficient advice and support with my studies.
15. The course is well organised and is running smoothly.
16. The library resources and services are good enough for my needs.
19. The course has helped me to present myself with confidence.
22. Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of the course.


  1. One member of staff to attend a telephone conference/Skype meeting in February (to be arranged by LLAS staff).
  2. To complete at least ten half-hour interviews (not focus groups) with final year students (year 3 or year 4 depending on course) to explore with them about how they interpret the eight questions, and to write a summary of the findings (around 750-1000 words).
  3. To hold a meeting/ focus group of at least five teaching staff to examine the questions from a staff perspective (summary of around 500-750 words).
  4. A summary report of the findings. What are the similarities and differences between staff and student understanding of the questions? How can the findings help the department to enhance the quality of student learning (750-1000 words)?

The projects will start on 1 February 2011. A template for the final report will be provided by LLAS. Reports must be submitted by 31 May 2011.

The reports will be published on the LLAS website. Therefore they should not include anything which you would not want to be made public. Applications can come either from departments/schools (e.g. modern languages, humanities) or from individuals subjects e.g. German, American Studies, linguistics within single or multidisciplinary departments. Applications are invited from all areas of languages, linguistics and area studies, but only one application per institution will be funded.

Applicants might benefit from reading the following article:

Abbi Flint et al., “Preparing for success: one institution's aspirational and student focused response to the National Student Survey,” Teaching in Higher Education 14, no. 6 (2009): 607-618.

Using the data from the chosen departments, LLAS staff will write an overall report.

To express your interest please email John Canning by with a short paragraph on how you think your department or subject area might benefit from the process. We will contact you with the outcome in the New Year.